Lots of people love dogs, right? And who can blame them. I’d own a dog if I could. Owning a dog in the city comes with extra responsibilities above owning a dog in the suburbs, I’ve noticed. In Broomfield, some of our neighbors had dogs, but everyone had their own yard.  So the dogs generally poop in the owner’s yard, and the owner can make a personal choice whether or not to clean it up. But in the city, people and their dogs don’t have private yards. So owners walk the dogs on the sidewalk or in the park. And the unwritten social contract is that the owners will clean up after their dogs when they poop in these public areas. No problem, right?

In Seattle, I don’t remember this being a huge issue. But here in Portland, for whatever reason, dog ownership per capita seems higher. And so there are a lot of dogs all pooping on whatever public grass they can find. Our neighborhood, designed around 1900 as a residential area, has a hell strip.  That’s the thin and almost useless strip of grass and trees between the sidewalk and the street. I don’t know why anyone ever planned hell strips, especially after learning about good and bad urban planning from the book “Suburban Nation”. Regardless, they’re there. Well, the hell strip is where all the dogs in our neighborhood poop. And because there are more dogs – and maybe because their owners aren’t as conscientious as in Seattle – there is more poop.

Unfortunately, to get into or out of a car that’s parked on the street, you have to cross – you guessed it – the poop-covered hell strip. We discovered this the hard way the first week we were here. In the dark, of course. But then I started noticing it’s not a problem just on our street. Hell strips all over Portland are covered with poop. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I’ll bet there’s at least one turd per house if you average it all out.

This is one of the things I’ll probably remember about living in Portland for a month. Crap. Yes, that’s a double-entendre. I apologize.

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